There’s nothing quite like coming home from a long day at the office, pouring yourself a glass of vinho verde, settling down on the couch, and then proceeding to dive head-first into a deep, dark corner of the internet for several hours. Like, it’s the best. Sometimes that means watching 20+ YouTube videos of people popping zits. Sometimes it means reading Oprah’s entire Wikipedia page. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what the content is, it’s more about the therapeutic nature of absorbing information that is, for the most part, entirely useless but enjoyable nonetheless. (No offense, Oprah.)
Recently, on one such night, my journey began by Googling “fancy dog hairstyles,” as one sometimes does. I was looking for the photos that went viral last year of the topiary-esque dog styles that are popular in Taiwan. You know, the ones that make the little puppy heads look like perfect blocks and spheres? It was adorable. But then, I found something else. Something glorious. Something that truly melted my brain into a small puddle on my sofa: professional dog grooming competitions. I found hundreds of photos of dogs—primarily poodles, but also some other breeds—with their hair cut, dyed, and styled in ways you couldn’t imagine even in your wildest, puppy-filled dreams. Like, this one dog literally has Elmo on his ass. Like, this other dog IS Yoda. Like, this is, basically, cosplay for dogs. Like, I’m definitely adding “taking acid and going to a professional dog grooming competition” to my bucket list. Please look at these photos yourself and feel the insane joy of their absurdity and adorableness. Bless the internet, and happy National Dog Day to you and yours.